Financial Administration

Breach of Fiscal Integrity (F16)

Revised: January 22, 1998

  1. Background

    Acts of embezzlement, theft and financial conflicts of interest can and do occur in any organization, including our large and decentralized system of universities. These acts carry legal implications for the university employe, both as an employe and as a citizen, under the criminal law. Concern for a university's fiscal integrity must also be matched by concern for just and fair treatment of a suspected offender. For this reason, the choice is not simply between discipline or discharge on the one hand and criminal prosecution on the other. If a university employe is found, or suspected to be, engaged in financial misconduct, the employe's supervisors cannot in these instances select restitution, discipline or discharge as exclusive alternatives to referral for criminal prosecution. In some instances, discipline or discharge and referral for criminal prosecution will be indicated, because of the magnitude of the wrongdoing, its aggravated nature, or other factors; in others, discipline or discharge of the employe will be a sufficient response to the situation. A determination as to the appropriate course of action in any given case can be made only after thorough inquiry into the facts and circumstances and consultation with the university and System administrations.

  2. Procedures

    1. As soon as there is any indication of actual or suspected theft, embezzlement or falsification of documents, the following steps should be taken:

      1. The discovering party should immediately notify the Unit Business Officer of the situation, who, in turn, should immediately notify the Chancellor and the System Vice President and Trust Officer.

      2. The System Internal Auditor, in cooperation with appropriate institution officials designated by the Chancellor, will immediately, yet discreetly, investigate the matter and determine if audit assistance is needed.

      3. Following a full investigation and verification of wrongdoing, determination will be made by the Internal Auditor, the General Counsel's Office and institutional officials of whether to notify the Criminal Litigation Unit of the Department of Justice.

      4. Upon notification from the university, the Criminal Litigation Unit will advise as to what, if any, criminal laws have been violated or what additional investigation may need to be done before a determination can be made as to whether or not a violation has taken place.

      5. At any time following notification to the Criminal Litigation Unit, the Chancellor, in consultation with the Internal Auditor, the General Counsel's Office and representatives of the Criminal Litigation Unit, may initiate an appropriate internal course of action, which may include disciplinary action or dismissal of the involved employe. If it appears that a criminal law may have been violated, criminal charges shall be preferred unless the Chancellor, in consultation with the appropriate legal authorities, determines there is convincing reason to conclude that the public interest would not be served by prosecution. The Criminal Litigation Unit shall be advised of these determinations and the reasons for them.

      6. If federal funds are involved, appropriate federal authorities shall be notified.

      7. In cases involving a substantial sum of money, consideration shall be given to civil suit to recover the funds where satisfactory arrangements for restitution have not otherwise been made.

    2. In actual or suspected cases of financial conflicts of interest, s. UWS 8.04, Wisconsin Administrative Code, will be followed.